by Mike Mitchell
The illegitimate son of an aristocratic politician and a actress, Meyrink set up as a banker in Prague. At the same time achieving notoriety as a dandt and rake while also being a successful sportsman, winning prizes at rowing regattas; about to commit suicide, he chanced on a pamphlet about life after death, put his revolver away and started a lifelong interest in the occult. He unmasked false mediums and experimented with alchemy, drugs and clairvoyancy until an 'affair of honour' led him to challenge the whole of the Prague officer corps, setting machinations in motion which resulted in his being wrongly imprisoned; his bank collapsed and he became a writer, the author of The Golem. << Stories collected round him, so that it is often difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Vivo: The Life of Gustav Meyrink presents the reader with both the remarkable life and the fantastic legend that was Meyrink, allowing him and those who knew him to speak in their own words wherever possible. << AUTHOR: For many years an academic with a special interest in Austrian literature and culture, Mike Mitchell has been a freelance literary translator since 1995. He is one of Dedalus's editorial directors and is responsible for the Dedalus translation programme. He has published over fifty translations from German and French, including Gustav Meyrink's five novels and The Dedalus Book of Austrian Fantasy. His translation of Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the 1998 Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize after he had been shortlisted in previous years for his translations of Stephanie by Herbert Rosendorfer and The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. His translation of Simplicissimus was shortlisted for The Weidenfeld Translation Prize in 1999 and The Other Side by Alfred Kubin shortlisted in 2000.